FOOTBALL: COVENTRY City will have to ‘play out of their skin’ to earn a win against Premier League Stoke City in the third round of the FA Cup tomorrow, according to manager Mark Robins.
Robins’ men enter tomorrow’s clash against the Potters having won four of their last five league fixtures.
Albeit in the Premier League, Stoke boss Mark Hughes travels to the Ricoh Arena under a cloud of critism with games in December resulting in just one win.
Changes will be made to the Sky Blues’ starting line-up from Monday’s home win against Chesterfield though, with ‘one or two’ players physically suffering from a heavy game schedule.
Robins said this morning promising teenager Tom Bayliss will start while he hopes Rod McDonald will return to the starting XI.
“We’re coming off the back of a busy spell,” said Robins.
“Playing games on Saturday and Monday proved to be a difficult turnaround. The heaviness of the pitches, travelling to Carlisle and the weather have all played parts.
“Physically it’s been tough for one or two. Subsequently those players will miss tomorrow.”
It’s a case of role reversal for the Sky Blues with previous FA Cup games taking place against Maidenhead and Boreham Wood.
But City enter tomorrow’s game as 4/1 underdogs, and Robins is expecting Mark Hughes to pick his strongest squad possible.
He said: “Mark Hughes will want to progress. It’s no different to us.
“It’s a change for us – we played Maidenhead and Boreham Wood expecting to win. Now it’s role reversal.
“We’ll have to be at our maximum. Stoke have quality through the team.”
And a poor quality Ricoh Arena pitch could add to the FA Cup drama.
Robins said: “The pitch isn’t great and could be better.
“But we have to deal with it. We know we can cause teams problems.
“We’ll have to play out of our skin. We’ll have young players on the pitch tomorrow.
“Tom Bayliss is young and he will play tomorrow. We’ll be against top players.”